The Don’t Look Back Center (TDLBC) was created to empower socially and economically disadvantaged women, transwomen, men, transmen and non-binary individuals of all racial and ethnic backgrounds to obtain safety, restoration, leadership, courage, tenacity, and health. We take into consideration all physical, emotional, social, and mental health conditions to effectively break the cycle of addictive patterns and unethical thinking in order to initiate change while developing life skills for restoration in all aspects of the participant's life. We serve the needs of the most vulnerable people in our society; an organization would be hard-pressed to serve more vulnerable community members than we do. Our clients are mostly women, including transwomen, most of whom have had recent criminal justice involvement and have experienced a variety of life traumas. We actively seek out this population in our community outreach work and refuse support to no one. Among our recent clients, a disproportionate number were victims of domestic violence, several were HIV+, and virtually all have housing instability.
TDLBC was founded in 2018 by Corinthiah Brown out of personal experience with the criminal justice system and substance use. Corinthiah brings with her years of lived experience, having experienced the criminal justice system and substance use disorder herself. Brown served time in the Colorado Department of Corrections and upon exiting the justice system in October 1999, she dedicated her life to helping others like herself overcome trauma and addiction. Brown has twenty-three years in recovery and after completing parole, she obtained a degree in Applied Behavioral Science and a Certified Addiction Specialist (CAS) certification which allowed her to begin working as a counselor. Today, Corinthiah Brown is a recovering crack addict, physical and sexual abuse survivor, and proud leader of the TDLBC team. We stand by our founder and our initial mission to help justice-involved individuals lead successful and fulfilling lives in the community.
Much of the TDLBC’s success can be attributed to our willingness to lean into the community. TDLBC recognizes the need for safe, trauma-informed living spaces for those working to overcome the barriers to recovery. Thus two years ago, the TDLBC opened the House of RAHAB, a transitional sober living home for women and transwomen. RAHAB has successfully provided a safe living space for women and transwomen ever since. We also opened a home specifically for pregnant mothers and mothers with a child under to age of 1yr. The child can live with the mother at Rahab allowing the mother and child to bond in our Mommy & Me program.
Many members of the TDLBC board share Brown’s personal experiences with recovery, including Adam Abdullah who is the Mentoring Coordinator for Second Chance Center. Abdullah helped co-found the House of RAHAB which supports the process of rebuilding lives one person at a time while continuing to bridge the gap between impulse and action. TDLBC’s ability to make productive connections with community members to accomplish specific service-oriented goals is one of its greatest strengths.
There exists a major gap in available services for women and men who identify as transgender. Our Transgender Outreach Program (T.O.P.) attempts to fill this gap by providing much needed resources and support to this population. While we cannot change the systemic issues fueling the inequities our clients face, we can overcome these barriers to services and get them the support they deserve. Similarly, few programs target Black women with justice involvement in a culturally responsive way. By incorporating Habilitation Empowerment Recovery (HER) and Habilitation Empowerment Accountability Therapy (HEAT) into our daily programming, we are able to reach the BIPOC communities and support them to counterbalance the inequities they face.
As mentioned above, TDLBC serves the most marginalized and underserved members of our community. In addition to serving transgender and non-binary people with criminal justice system involvement, BIPOC Americans and people with dual diagnosis (substance use disorder and mental health), we also serve those who are unemployed or experiencing housing insecurity. We estimate that 98% of our participants are homeless, in transitional housing, or living below the federal poverty line.
Our programs span recovery-oriented re-habilitation, street outreach, traditional outpatient substance use disorder treatment, psychotherapy and mental health treatment which provides participants with physical and mental health education, peer-to-peer support, and a sense of community. We also offer a food pantry, clothing closet, workforce development services, DUI/DWI classes, relapse prevention groups, acu-detox treatments and a volunteer-intern program.